"Heterotrophic Processes" is a descriptor in the National Library of Medicine's controlled vocabulary thesaurus,
MeSH (Medical Subject Headings). Descriptors are arranged in a hierarchical structure,
which enables searching at various levels of specificity.
The processes by which organisms utilize organic substances as their nutrient sources. Contrasts with AUTOTROPHIC PROCESSES which make use of simple inorganic substances as the nutrient supply source. Heterotrophs can be either chemoheterotrophs (or chemoorganotrophs) which also require organic substances such as glucose for their primary metabolic energy requirements, or photoheterotrophs (or photoorganotrophs) which derive their primary energy requirements from light. Depending on environmental conditions some organisms can switch between different nutritional modes (AUTOTROPHY; heterotrophy; chemotrophy; or PHOTOTROPHY) to utilize different sources to meet their nutrients and energy requirements.
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